The River Thames and Teddington Weir

Twickenham and Richmond MPs against treated sewage water discharge plans

Twickenham and Richmond MPs have spoken out against the environmental impact of Thames Water plans to discharge highly-treated sewage water in the River Thames.

Thames Water moved their drought resistance proposals to the next phase on August 31, which could see a water recycling scheme implemented on the Thames at Teddington.

The Teddington Direct River Abstraction (DRA) plans could see water abstracted from the Thames at Teddington Weir and replaced with highly-treated water from Mogden sewage works.

A new pipeline will be built from Isleworth to Ham to transport the water which is a specific point of contention.

It is estimated the Teddington DRA will supply 75 million litres of drinking water daily and be ready by 2033.

Twickenham MP Munira Wilson has been vocal in her opposition to the plans since they first went to public consultation in December 2022.

She said: “The over-arching concern is a real lack of trust in Thames Water.

“They had to be dragged kicking and screaming at every turn and on the construction impacts.

“They have not been open at all.”

Ham Lands and Moormead Park will be affected by the construction of a new pipeline which will see eight shafts built, each approximately the size of half a football pitch.

The plans mainly involve existing infrastructure including an underground tunnel to transport the river water from Teddington to Lee Valley reservoirs in East London.

A Thames Water spokesperson said: “We need to invest in new sources of water if we are to provide a secure and sustainable water supply for the future.

“Our work to date demonstrates that the proposed abstraction scheme in West London is a cost-effective option and our environmental studies have shown that the scheme would not cause detriment to the environment. ”

Richmond Park MP Sarah Olney is also opposed to the plans and Ham Lands is in her constituency.

She said: “We don’t actually know what the level of environmental destruction is that we are potentially looking at here.”

She is concerned that Ham Lands is an inappropriate site for construction and that construction would significantly impact residents.

Thames Water has noted that the exact locations for shafts and access points are unconfirmed as they are currently in the early stages of consultation and design.

The proposals are now with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to consider while Thames Water continue their consultation.

Wilson and Olney oppose the plans, favouring other options and are encouraging the government to veto the proposals.

Campaign group Save Ham Lands and River has protested against the plans since they became public in December 2022.

They started a petition which has more than 26,000 signatures and campaigners have held multiple events.

They argue the discharge of highly-treated sewage water into the river will affect waterfowl and discourage recreational use of the river.

Thames Water CEO Cathryn Ross agreed to meet with campaigners to discuss concerns and confirmed that she would be happy to swim in the water discharged into the river. 

Wilson persuaded Thames Water to set up a private forum with key stakeholders around the plans and they will have their second in-person meeting next week.

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